Virginia Civil Air Patrol provides key images for disaster recovery
The Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing flew 15 hours providing imagery of key areas for multiple agencies in response to Hurricane Isaias. Prior to the storm’s arrival, the wing collected pre-storm imaging and reconnaissance of low-lying flood prone areas in the Tidewater region at the request of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). In addition, a pre-storm survey of buoys in Norfolk Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay approaches was also provided at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard. All photos utilized geo-tagging so that geographic information system (GIS) mapping could be developed for the key areas and in preparation for comparison to the post-landfall images.
Within hours of Isaias’ passing through the region, the wing was in the air taking photographs to provide an aerial assessment for potential storm and tornado damage. In addition, CAP transported a representative from VDEM, allowing the state to have a timely assessment of affected areas only hours after the passing of the hurricane. Images taken by CAP photographers were shared through the Domestic Operations (DOMOPS) Awareness and Assessment Response Tool (DAART) which assisted in ensuring a rapid response to the communities that experienced damage. While VDEM was assessing the damage, the National Weather Service was analyzing the data for possible tornado tracks. All buoys and the Intercoastal waterway were surveyed as well to ensure navigability.
Following the response, Lt. Col. Josh Shields, the wing’s Director of Emergency Services said, “CAP and the members of Virginia Wing are proud of the partnership we have with State and Community managers. The rapid response of the wing enabled our customers to quickly analyze the storm’s impact and provide assistance to areas that needed it the most. These actions speak to the dedication and drive of our all volunteer force.”